The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is issuing an Ozone High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Maricopa County, effective Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14-15. This HPA is due to ozone levels expected to accumulate enough to exceed the federal health standard for ozone.
Ground-level ozone forms when two types of pollutants — volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and nitrous oxides (NOx) — react in sunlight. These pollutants come primarily from automobiles, but also from other sources including industries, power plants and products such as solvents and paints. Generally, the highest levels of ozone occur in the afternoon.
People most affected by ozone include children, senior citizens, people who work or exercise outdoors and people with pre-existing respiratory disease. Ozone can irritate the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off respiratory infections. Ozone-related health problems include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, and throat and lung irritation.
Employers and Travel Reduction Program Transportation Coordinators are advised to activate their HPA Plans immediately. ADEQ further recommends that the general public limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.
ADEQ, Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) and Valley Metro recommend residents and businesses use the following tips and resources to reduce ozone pollution and make the air healthier to breathe:
- Drive as little as possible, carpool, use public transit or telecommute
- Re-fuel your vehicle after dark
- Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants or banks – park your car and go inside
- Visit ShareTheRide.com to plan a transit trip or find a carpool or vanpool
- Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers and delay big painting projects
- Make sure containers of household cleaners, garage and yard chemicals and other solvents are sealed properly to prevent vapors from evaporating into the air
- Visit CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more about reducing air pollution
- High Pollution Advisory (HPA): Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to exceed the federal health standard
- Health Watch: Notifies the public that the level of an air pollutant is expected to approach the federal health standard
- Ozone: Ground-level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction among sunlight, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and VOCs
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The Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The mission of MCAQD is to improve the air of Maricopa County so customers, residents and visitors can live, work and play in a healthy environment.The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website: CleanAirMakeMore.com.
CONTACT: Bob Huhn – 602-506-6713 (desk) | 602-526-7307 (cell)
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The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) provides a daily forecast for air quality and issues HPAs or Health Watches when these conditions exist. Please visit azdeq.gov/environ/air/ozone/ensemble.pdf or call (602) 771-2367 for tomorrow’s forecast or SUBSCRIBE to receive air quality forecasts via email and/or text message.
CONTACT: Erin Jordan – 602-771-2215 (desk) | 602-540-8072 (cell)
Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system. Please visit Valleymetro.org to learn more.
CONTACT: Corinne Holliday – 602-322-4492 desk | 623-293-0335 (cell)